Friday, November 18, 2005

Too Cool for Modern Music

This evening I was stuck in traffic and scanning stations. I ended up on WQSR, the Jack FM outlet in Baltimore. John Mellencamp's "Cherry Bomb" was playing, which was fun, but then it ended and something with a good drum line kicked in; the guitar started up and then some horns ... and then I realized what it was — Chicago, "25 or 6 to 4". Embarrassing, but still a pretty good tune.

That I was enjoying a Chicago tune probably undercuts the rest of this entry, but I've recently been turned on to MP3 blogs, and have been finding and enjoying some pretty good tune because of it. Back in early October, Drink at linked to Jefitoblog's "Complete Idiot's Guide to Big Country." After a few other interesting entries at Jefitoblog, I started looking around and landed on My Old Kentucky Blog, microclips, Lonesome Music, and Salon's Audiofile column, as well as The Hype Machine, an aggregator for MP3 blogs.

While a lot of MP3 blogs post MP3s for evaluation purposes with the request that downloaders delete files within a few days of downloading them, they sometimes also link to really cool things that are legal to download for noncommercial purposes, such as the Live Audio Archive. I've found some excellent Calexico shows there (you need a program to convert the FLAC files to MP3 or WAV, but this show is excellent), as well as some rare Billy Bragg performances and a few fun Clumsy Lovers sets.

One of the better live sets I've found through an MP3 blog is Iron and Wine together with Calexico live at the Triple Door in Seattle. It's not free, but Iron and Wine's performance at Bonnaroo 2005 is also excellent.

A long time ago, in one of my first few entries, I blogged about legal MP3s. I still think the Web is a great means for promoting new bands, and several MP3 blogs have been pointing to Everybody Loves Irene, a very chill trip-hop/down-tempo band from Indonesia. The Indonesia angle is just a fun note for their bio; the music is nothing like dangdut or other typical Indonesian musical styles. They're just a solid band that deserves much wider attention. Check out "Gravity Always Wins" [MP3] (Uncertainty, Anxiety, and All the Sorrow In This World EP version) and "Hybrid Moments" [MP3] (demo version).

Since I don't have an iPod, most of the time I'm playing back MP3s via the computer or I burn files to an audio CD, but a few weeks ago I did pick up a Roadmaster VR-3 FM modulator/MP3 player. It has some limitations, but being able to drop MP3s to a USB thumbdrive that I can snap into a device in the car for playback is pretty cool ... and gives me something besides Chicago to jam to.

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1 comment:

T. Carter said...

The iPods are neat, but I just can't get past the no-user-replacable battery, the proprietary encoding for iTunes, and the Cult of Apple. I'll admit I'd like an MP3 player of somesort, but I think I'd be happiest with a USB thumbdrive or SD-card loadable player ... hell even that Disney Mix Stix looks more appealing to me than an iPod (and is priced better).